Monday, September 21, 2009

in the middle

When I lived in Baton Rouge, live oak trees were like crape myrtles in North Carolina-- they were planted everywhere. But in south Louisiana, live oaks were more than a "street tree." They turned into large and low-slung behemoths. From a distance they looked like thunderheads of evergreen and gray. The coastal and deep South is where Quercus virginiana gets real big and sometimes gets real Spanish moss on its limbs.

But live oaks can survive into Durham (zone 7a/b) and other parts of the middle South. There are online garden forum discussions of specimens even making it in Kentucky and Tennessee. Some of those threads get crazy when folks start debating the trending of real temps, global warming, native trees, etc. Even weather is controversial when you get passionate folks together who have the Internet and an opinion to share.

Pictured above is my favorite local live oak. It was probably planted thirty-plus years ago when Duke's mid-campus apartments were newly built/landscaped. The sheltered and sunny site in between two buildings makes a good spot for this marginally hardy tree.

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